“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.  I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is.  Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Watery reflections

The finite and the infinite — our lives are but a shallow dip in the endless streaming of Eternity.  We wish we could anchor ourselves for a longer stay, but the tides of time will ultimately triumph.  We will all die.

I’ve pretty much reconciled myself to my death and the fact that there will likely be no lasting memory of my time on Earth even a generation after I am gone.  Not even a light footprint.  And that’s okay.  I will be subsumed back into Nature, which is eternal.  My atoms will survive in a new form.

“As for man, his days are like grass:
He flourishes like a flower in the field;
The wind blows over it and is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.”
— Psalm 103: 15 – 16

“Surely human insignificance is at least as much of a mystery as human existence.”
— David Rieff, Swimming in a Sea of Death

“I bequeath myself to the dirt
to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look
for me under your boot-soles.”
— Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

“To end with nothing is something.”
— Suvan Geer

“. . . from generation to generation, the earth abides.  We are the earth, we come from the earth, and to the earth we return.  The earth abides.”
— Richard Quinney, Once Again the Wonder

 

Beloved Hands

February 13, 2010

Beloved Hands

Here is a tender love poem to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day:

Love Sonnet LXXXIX
by Pablo Neruda

When I die, I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me once more:
I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep.
I want your ears still to hear the wind, I want you
to sniff the sea’s aroma that we loved together,
to continue to walk on the sand we walk on.

I want what I love to continue to live
and you whom I love and sang above everything else
to continue to flourish, full-flowered:

so that you can teach everything my love directs you to,
so that my shadow can travel along your hair,
so that everything can learn the reason for my song.

Life After Death

October 12, 2009

Grey-headed vulture in flight, Costa Rica (photo 2008)

Grey-headed vulture in flight, Costa Rica (photo 2008)

The scavenger vulture, Costa Rica (photo 2008)

The scavenger vulture, Costa Rica (photo 2008)

It’s most natural to me to feel an aversion to scavenger birds, like vultures, who feed on carrion and death.  I love how Robinson Jeffers’ poem turns this outlook on its heels.

Vulture
by Robinson Jeffers

I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean.  I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture
     wheeling high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit
     narrowing, I understood then
That I was under inspection.  I lay death-still and heard the flight-feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red hood between the great wings
Bear down staring.  I said, “My dear bird, we are wasting time here.
These old bones will still work; they are not for you.”  But how
     beautiful he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in
     the sea-light over the precipice.  I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him.  To be eaten by that
      beak and become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes —
What a sublime end of one’s body, what an enskyment; what a
     life after death.